Spenser, Donne, and the trouble of periodization
in Spenser and Donne
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The introductory chapter reviews the existing critical literature on Spenser and Donne, including the literary-historical conventions that have created the gap in scholarship on the two poets. Although the traditional view of Spenser and Donne as opposites is not entirely unjustified, it has unnecessarily foreclosed enquiry into the relation between their poetics and thinking. The fault lies mainly with the conventions of periodization that place Spenser and Donne on opposite sides of a divide, which in itself is symptomatic of a broader teleological view of the ‘Renaissance’, or ‘early modern’ period. This chapter gives an overview of the essays in the collection, recognizing the multiplicity of approaches and points of entry into this new area of research and outlining the narrative of the volume as a whole. It argues, above all, for a relational view of Spenser and Donne and for the potentially far-reaching implications of this relation in understanding the literary culture of the Renaissance.

Spenser and Donne

Thinking poets


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